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    TOM: Coast to coast and floorboards to shingles, this is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And Happy Halloween, everybody. It is the season to decorate your home for that big holiday. You know, for decades, Halloween has also been paired, though, with a night of mischief that can result in crushed trash cans and smashed windows and even mailboxes taking a beating. That’s why, coming up this hour, we’re going to have some tips on how to build a mailbox that is so well-grounded, it can stand up to any possible abuse, including those of the not-so-nice goblins and the occasionally rough postal-delivery person.

    LESLIE: That’s it. You’re definitely not getting any mail.

    Plus, do you guys have any idea at all how much water that you’re using in your home? Well, if you’re trying to save water, the best place to start is to see how much water your family normally uses and then see how much water you can save when you make some small changes. We’re going to tell you how to figure out how much water you use, in just a few minutes.

    TOM: And believe it or not, even in cooler weather, you can garden outside. There’s plenty of produce that can thrive well into fall and we’re going to have some tips on your autumn harvest opportunities, coming up.

    LESLIE: And also this hour, one caller that we talk to on the air is going to get the latest cool tool from Dremel. It’s the brand new Saw-Max and that’s a lightweight saw that’s super-tough; I mean tough enough for almost any surface but small enough so you can easily maneuver it and it stores away really tiny and handy. It’s a great tool.

    TOM: And it’s just in stores this month. So give us a call right now. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT. Let’s get to those phones.

    Leslie, who’s first?

    LESLIE: Greg in Minnesota is on the line, looking for some help with insulation. What can we do for you?

    GREG: Well, I’m just wondering what – which is more efficient in an attic, especially up here in west-central Minnesota where we get a little cold in the wintertime. Is it more efficient to use rolled-on insulation in my attic or to use blown-in insulation in my attic?

    TOM: I think that both will be equally efficient if they’re installed properly. Well, how old is your house, Greg?

    GREG: It was built in ’73, so it’s …

    TOM: Alright. So it is a standard, stick-frame construction?

    GREG: Yes, sir.

    TOM: So, I think you can use regular batt insulation, because it’s a little bit easier to handle than the blown-in and also, after the fact, if you need to get in there to do any wiring or anything like that, it’s a lot easier when you don’t have to kind of plow through all the blown-in stuff. So I prefer batt whenever I can use it.

    What I would do is I would put down 8 to 10 inches between the floor joists or the ceiling joists and I would also then put another 8 to 10 perpendicular to that. So you’re going to want somewhere in the 18-to-20-inch range of insulation when you’re done, in that part of the country.

    And then lastly, make sure you have plenty of ventilation, so you need to have ridge vents and soffit vents so that you’re moving a lot of air through it. Because if not, what’ll happen is you’ll get condensation in that attic and that’ll make the insulation damp and ineffective. So good insulation and good ventilation. Put down in a couple of layers on the insulation. I think you’ll be in good shape.

    LESLIE: Do you have any insulation up in your attic already?

    GREG: Yeah, there’s insulation there now but it’s gotten compacted over the years. It’s blown-in insulation; it was there when we moved into the house about 11 years ago.


    TOM: OK.

    LESLIE: So it’s important when you’re going to put the fiberglass batts on top that you go with unfaced, right, Tom?

    TOM: Yes. You always want to use unfaced insulation.

    GREG: OK.

    TOM: Alright?

    GREG: Alright. I appreciate it.

    TOM: You’re welcome. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Jean in North Carolina is calling in with a door issue. Tell us what’s going on.

    JEAN: Well, my daughter – the door – the bathroom door and my bedroom door were creaking but the bathroom the worst. And she got a spray and sprayed the hinges but she overdid and I have been – she’s taken the pin out and cleaned it. We’ve tried everything except pipe cleaners and I don’t know where I can get them. But is there anything that I can put on it or have her take the pins out and we can clean – try to clean it again? This one is still oozing.

    TOM: Hmm. Wow. She must have really blasted it, huh?

    You know, what happens is you get a lot of dirt and dust inside of those hinges and then if you spray it with one of those spray lubricants, then it all becomes sort of greasy, oily mud. And the only way to get rid of that is to do exactly what you’re doing, is to take it apart and wipe it down really good.

    But if you take the door off the hinges, you wipe one side really good, then you wipe the other side really good and put it back together; that should be that. You shouldn’t have an ongoing issue with it. There’s only a finite amount of oil and you’ve just got to get that oil off of there, Jean, and you should be good to go.

    LESLIE: Frank in Iowa is calling in with a countertop question. What can we do for you?

    FRANK: I have a Formica counter and we left a cast-iron skillet on it over the weekend and the water stain that it left is terrible.

    TOM: Uh-oh.

    FRANK: And I was kind of wondering if you guys knew of anything that I could use to remove it, barring harsh chemicals or anything like that.

    TOM: So it was just a water stain? It wasn’t a heat stain?

    FRANK: No. It was rust from the bottom of the pan that kind of soaked into it.

    TOM: OK. Have you tried CLR?

    FRANK: I have not.

    TOM: CLR, it’s a household cleaner product. It stands for Calcium, Lime, Rust. Very effective at lifting the rust stains out of various types of surfaces. That would be my first stop right there.

    FRANK: OK. Yeah, yeah, my wife wasn’t really happy about it, so I’m trying to fix it.

    TOM: Well, we hope we get you out of the dog house.

    FRANK: I hope so, too. Thank you very much.

    TOM: Frank, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Now you can be part of the fun. Give us a call with your home repair or your home improvement question 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are always standing by at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    Actually, we’re working, waiting for your call.

    TOM: 888-666-3974.

    Up next, do you know how to read your own water meter? Do you care? Wondering why you should read your own water meter? Well, once you learn to speak the language of the water meter, you will be able to save money, because you’ll be able to track how much water you’re using now and how much less you’ll be using when you start just a few, simple conservation moves. We’ll give you all of that, when we come back.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Icynene. If you’re building, remodeling or reinsulating, demand Icynene spray-foam insulation. Icynene fills the spaces other insulations miss, for up to 50-percent energy savings. Learn more and find a dealer at Icynene.com. I-c-y-n-e-n-e.com.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete. And the number here is 888-MONEY-PIT. Now, pick up the phone and give us a call so we can give you a hand with your home improvement project. But one of you lucky callers this hour is going to win a Dremel Saw-Max.

    Now, this is pretty cool because it’s brand-spanking new; I mean it’s just hitting the shelves. And it’s got a great, compact size and an ergonomic design so it feels good, it’s easy to handle and you can pretty much cut just about anything with this. And it’s really easy to store and it’s worth 130 bucks. So give us a call for your chance to get one for free.

    TOM: 888-666-3974. One of those Dremel Saw-Max units is going to go out to one caller who comes on the air with us at 888-MONEY-PIT. It might just be you if we draw your name out of The Money Pit hard hat.

    Time now for a Slow the Flow water-saving tip for you, as part of our campaign in partnership with the EPA’s WaterSense program. And today’s tip is sponsored by HydroRight Dual-Flush System.

    Now, if you don’t already know how to do this, it’s a good idea to learn how to read your own water meter. Why? Well, it’s the best way to see how much water you’re using and to detect leaks. First, though, you’ve got to find it and they’re generally located near the curb in the front of your home. Although in some colder areas, it might also be inside, usually in the basement. If you can’t find it, you can call your local water company; they should have notes on exactly where it exists in your house.

    LESLIE: That’s right. Now, when you do find it, you want to kind of think of it as your car’s odometer. There’s going to be five numbers and those count cubic feet. Now, you want to read the three to the left and ignore the rest of them. Then what you want to do is subtract your previous meter reading from your current meter reading to get an idea of your usage.

    Remember, every 100 cubic feet of water equals 748 gallons. So you might be a little surprised at the amount of water that you actually use. And in case you didn’t know, your toilet is the number-one water user in your home. If you find you need to cut down on the water that’s being flushed right down the drain, one way might be to add a dual-flush system on your toilet itself.

    TOM: That’s right. And HydroRight makes a dual-flush system. It was invented by a plumber and it’s very easy to install. Takes about 10 minutes; you don’t need any tools. If you want to find out about dual-flush systems, you can visit SaveMyToilet.com to learn more. And for many more water-saving tips and ideas, take a look at our water-saving product guide online, right now, at MoneyPit.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Albert in North Carolina on the line who’s got a well question.

    ALBERT: Well, I’m not getting enough water from the well that I have existing on my property.

    TOM: OK.

    ALBERT: It’s what they call a “dug well” instead of a “bored well.”

    TOM: Right.

    ALBERT: It only goes down 15 feet before it hits the – what they call the “surface water table” here.

    TOM: Right.

    ALBERT: But I’m kind of – we’ve been in a semi-drought in my area and if I go to use the water to water the lawn or fill up the swimming pool for the grandkids or whatever, it runs out of water.

    TOM: Is this well only being used for non-domestic purposes, like washing cars? Or are you drinking this water, as well?

    ALBERT: Drinking it, too. And well, we have had it tested and everything. It’s fine; it’s good water.

    TOM: Alright. OK.

    ALBERT: We’re up here at the top of the water cycle in the mountains so – that’s what I understand and everything’s fine.

    TOM: OK.

    ALBERT: But they said in order to increase the water, there would be no guarantees that the wells in this area – to hit bedrock and hit a subterranean aquifer. There’s anywhere between 85 and 600 feet and there’s no guarantee, once they start …

    TOM: Boy, really narrowed it down for you, didn’t they?

    ALBERT: Yeah. And there – and it’s very expensive, too.

    TOM: Oh, I bet.

    ALBERT: I didn’t know if there was any other – I’ve talked to a couple people but nobody else has any ideas about adding additional pumps or digging another well or – I really – and that kind of money is a lot to spend.

    TOM: Yeah, well, that’s what I was going to suggest. I wonder if you created – if you dug another shallow well on the property and tried to tap into another piece of this aquifer, whether that would solve it. When the water goes down, do you know that it’s the aquifer running dry that’s causing this?

    ALBERT: It really doesn’t run dry; it gets muddy and …

    TOM: It gets muddy.

    ALBERT: Yeah. And we have filters to take out the mud but the filters get clogged.

    TOM: Right.

    ALBERT: And of course, if I let it replenish – just stop watering for a day – it replenishes and we have enough water.

    TOM: Right.

    ALBERT: But it still – it’s becoming – it’s irritating and it …

    TOM: More and more of a problem, yeah.

    ALBERT: Yeah.

    TOM: So is there any of the well-drilling companies that will give you any type of a fixed cost? Or is it all going to be on – determined by how deep they’ve got to go?

    LESLIE: Depending on how deep you go.

    ALBERT: Yeah, it’s how deep and it’s by the foot.

    LESLIE: Wow. Has anybody in your area done a bored well and have any sort of recommendations as to how deep they had to go to reach it?

    ALBERT: Well, my neighbor, who’s about 100 feet away, they had bored a well all the way to bedrock and hit it at 85 feet.

    TOM: Right. OK.

    ALBERT: And the well company I’ve talked to said that’s fine but it’s really – they’ve bored wells 20 feet away from existing wells and not hit. So there’s no guarantee.

    TOM: Right.

    ALBERT: So it’s kind of strange.

    TOM: Yes. It’s kind of a crap shot.

    ALBERT: I know. I’ve got to replace my roof. We’ve finally been in this house for 30 years. I haven’t even put new roof on but now I have this well problem come up. I don’t know.

    TOM: Yeah, well, if you don’t fix the roof, you can just collect water in buckets and solve your problem.

    ALBERT: That might – yeah, that might be an alternative

    TOM: What you have to really think about here, Albert, is what’s reasonable and customary in your area. And it sounds like everyone’s suffering with shallow wells when they start to get muddy. And the solution is to drill the well.

    Unfortunately, there is no way to predict how much this is going to cost you, so I would suggest that – try to put your energy into finding the most reputable, reliable, reasonable well-drilling contractor out there that’s not going to hold you up for more money or try to stretch you out. And really try to find somebody that’s got a really good reputation. You can use …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I bet you could look on Angie’s List.

    TOM: Yeah, you can use sites like AngiesList.com or ServiceMaster.com to find contractors hat have had some references. You want to find some that have had some good customer experiences and that those are documented online, as well.

    You know, the good news is it’s a lot easier to find a good guy these days, because so many people will just post very generously what their experiences are, good or bad, with a contractor online. I think that you really should focus on trying to find the best pro and then whatever it will be will be.

    ALBERT: Yeah, that’s really good advice. I should go online. My wife has one – has signed up for Angie’s List for this roof project and (inaudible at 0:15:38).

    TOM: Well, there you go. And that’s a good time to do it. There’s a small membership fee and – but they seem to do a really good job with the site. And if you’ve got a couple of projects that are going on like that, you could really take advantage of it.

    ALBERT: Right. Well, I think you’re correct and I appreciate your time.

    TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project, Albert. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    ALBERT: Thank you.

    LESLIE: Dina in California, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    DINA: Hi. I’ve got some citrus trees – one very large Eureka lemon and two Meyers – two Meyer lemons – as well as a miniature orange tree.

    TOM: OK.

    DINA: And for the first time, in the last year or so here in northern California, we’re getting freezing temperatures that last for two, three, four nights in a row. I’ve gotten freeze cloth and used that in the past but now, at least, the Eureka is way too tall to be doing that; it’s probably 15 feet high.

    So my question is – well, one is kind of about trimming and pruning. Should I just be topping it off to keep it smaller so I can use the freeze cloth or is there another product you could recommend that I can use instead of …?

    LESLIE: Well, when it comes to pruning, you don’t want to prune too late in the season because when you do prune them and you get new growth, that’s when the tree is its most vulnerable. So don’t prune too late in the season. If you know this weather is coming, just hold off and wait until the spring; let it sort of be hardy as you go into the cooler weather.

    DINA: OK. Alright. So I won’t do any pruning. Anything besides freeze cloth that you would recommend?

    TOM: Many experts actually recommend that you use electric lighting as a source of potential, additional heat when you have a freeze that’s pending. So it could be anything from a spotlight to Christmas lights or anything of that nature, to add additional heat to the tree.

    Another thing that you want to do is maintain the soil moisture; it’s very important that the tree is kept moist. If it’s not, it will not radiate as much heat into the atmosphere at night, so you want to make sure that you keep up on your watering.

    And also, it’s a good idea to sometimes spray the tree with water before a frost.

    LESLIE: Yeah, if you’re expecting a hard freeze. Because what happens is the water sort of pours over the fruit as it freezes overnight and a lot of the professional citrus growers down in Florida will run those sprinklers all night knowing that this freeze is coming. So when the freeze happens, it almost forms like an ice protector around each piece of fruit; sort of protecting the fruit and protecting the tree.

    But some of the experts say that once you’ve had an orange or a lemon tree in the ground three years, you really don’t need to try to protect it too much, that they become pretty hardy at that point.

    DINA: Oh, well that’s good because this is probably the third or fourth year and they’re quite large and very prolific. I don’t have much in the way of lemons on the Eureka – on any of them, really, right now; we’ve pretty much picked them all – but it’s just a lot of green and in past years, it’s gotten frostbit on the outer edges.

    TOM: Yep.

    DINA: And we ended up cutting it off in the spring, so maybe I should just let it see what happens and trim it in the spring.

    TOM: Alright, Dina. Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: You are tuned to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. Well, if you think it’s time to store away the gardening tools just because it’s fall, think again. We’re going to tell you about things that you can grow outside, right now, that are both pretty and can actually help you cut down on your grocery bill. All of that, when The Money Pit continues.

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you in part by Arrow Fastener Company, the leader in professional fastening products since 1929. The makers of the iconic T50 Staple Gun, the world’s bestselling staple gun, Arrow Fastener has the right tool for every application. Explore Arrow’s latest product innovations at ArrowFastener.com.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Skil’s complete line of routers, with Soft Start technology. You experience less kickback and better control. Pro features at a DIY price. That’s what the Skil routers are about.

    TOM: Where home solutions live, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And summer may be coming to a close but your garden doesn’t have to close down with it. There are ways to move many of your blooming beauties inside where you can enjoy them all fall long.

    LESLIE: That’s right. So we have gardening expert and author, Melinda Myers, joining us with tips on how to extend your bloom time into the colder months.

    Welcome, Melinda.

    MELINDA: Great to be here. Thank you so much for having me.

    TOM: Well, you’re so very welcome. Now, what kind of plants just can’t really survive it outside and make it through the colder climates and are sort of the must-moves to bring them inside?

    MELINDA: Well, I think gardeners, no matter where you live, have what I call “zone envy.” We always try to grow things that really aren’t winter-hardy in our area. So if it’s a plant that is not winter-hardy, then you’re going to have to do something to get it through the winter.

    So if you’re a Northern gardener, things like tropical hibiscus, banana plants, even non-hardy bulbs like cannas and tuberous begonias and even our friends in the South may be pushing the limits and growing some things. Some parts of the South can’t keep their bougainvilleas and mandevillas over winter. So you need to really look at plants that aren’t hardy that you can bring indoors, grow them like houseplants at a good, sunny window or a cool, bright location and try to keep them alive until the weather’s right to put them back outside.

    LESLIE: Now, is there anything that you really should just forget about it and simply just leave outside for the colder months and hope for the best?

    MELINDA: Well, anything that’s borderline, if you can put it in a protected area, that will help. And then there’s some plants that you just go, “I can just buy new ones next year.” And it doesn’t make sense to bring every single annual – impatiens, geraniums, begonia – indoors when it may be just as easy to say, “You know what? I’m going to compost those and then I’m going to just buy fresh, new plants.” Because there’s always new varieties on the market. And so it’s a great way to kind of spark up your landscape, even if you grow the same kind of annuals but try a new variety.

    TOM: Gardening expert, Melinda Myers, is joining us. She’s the author of Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening, available on Amazon, garden centers and in bookstores.

    So, Melinda, is there a shock issue to be concerned about when you take a plant that’s been growing outside and want to move it indoors? Is there something you need to do to sort of make that transition a little easier or is that just something that us humans think is important but the plants could care less about?

    MELINDA: Well, they’ll let you know that they don’t like changing of the conditions. Just like a lot of us don’t like to move all of our activities indoors for the winter, the plants don’t either. Just by moving your plants indoors, you’re reducing the light intensity by about a tenth. And as fall approaches and winter, the days are getting shorter, they’re not usually as bright in much of the country and so those plants are going through a shock.

    So what you’re going to need to do is gradually move them from the bright light outdoors to those lower lights inside. And the other thing you want to do is make sure nobody hitched a ride in, any insects.

    TOM: Oh, that’s a good point.

    MELINDA: Yeah, I know. Right there, I can tell Leslie’s like, “Oh, no. That’s OK.”

    LESLIE: Yeah. No, thanks.

    So how do you do that? I mean do you give them a shake or …?

    MELINDA: Yeah.

    LESLIE: You can tell I’m a great gardener.

    MELINDA: One of the things that you can do is when you bring it from outside into a good, sunny window, isolate the plants that are moving outdoors indoors if you have a big indoor plant collection. Because you don’t want to infest your plants indoors that have been indoors all year.

    So I like to do – so from outside to my screened-in porch to a room where just – a bright room where just those plants that are coming indoors stay and then I monitor. I check for a couple weeks, look for signs of insects: mites and aphids being the most common. If I find them – or even before, I might give them a shower with the hose before I bring them in; that knocks a lot of the insects down. If I find something, I like to use things like insecticidal soap or neem. Safe for kids, safe for pets.

    So, if you have a – I have a cat right now trying to munch on my lemon tree. And if you have pets that like to munch on your plants, then you know what? You don’t have to worry about them – the pesticide hurting them – because it’s all natural and safe.

    TOM: We’re talking to Melinda Myers. She’s the author of Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening.

    Now, what about the reverse of this? Let’s say we’ve gone through the winter and now it’s time to reintroduce the plants to the outside. Do you have to do that in small steps, as well?

    MELINDA: You bet. I always relate it to the – when the Northerners go to Florida in January and we lay on the beach and fry our bodies, the same thing happens to the plants. So, move them outdoors gradually, after the danger frost has passed. Then you want to put them in a shaded location. Each day, give them an hour more of sunlight. And then at the end of two weeks, they’re going to be ready for that bright-light condition.

    Or maybe you just want to move them into a sheltered location so that transition isn’t so great moving out for summer and back in for fall.

    TOM: There’s a lot of steps involved, Leslie.

    LESLIE: Seriously.

    TOM: This is why I kill plants.

    LESLIE: Me, too. I’m always, in the springtime, so thankful that things have grown back. I’m like, “Oh, good. We’re at 75 percent. Home run!”

    TOM: Yeah. “Hey, the plants survived Leslie for the season.”

    LESLIE: And then in the fall, I’m like, “Ugh.”

    MELINDA: Yeah. And the other thing that people may be wanting to do, too, is their non-hardy bulbs. Now, this may be a little bit on the easier side: things like tuberous begonias and calla lilies and dahlias that after a light frost, you lift those up.

    Take the soil off, let them sit for a couple of days to cure, remove any dead foliage. Just gently brush off the soil, pack them in peat moss and put them in a cool, dark place in the basement away from the furnace. And then leave them there and hopefully they stay dormant and then you start the process over. So they don’t require much care over winter, so that’s a good, low-maintenance kind of over-wintering strategy for those kind of plants.

    TOM: Good advice. Melinda Myers, the author of Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening, thanks so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    MELINDA: Thanks so much for having me.

    TOM: You can get more information from Melinda by going to her website at MelindaMyers.com. And you can find her book in Amazon, garden centers and bookstores.

    LESLIE: Alright. If the upcoming Mischief Night that goes along with Halloween has got you fearing for the survival of your mailbox, have no fear. We’re going to tell you a fast and easy way that you can set your mailbox so it’s not going to budge an inch.

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    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by ODL’s Add-On Blinds. Enclosed behind tempered glass, they eliminate the need for dusting and exposed cords, both problems with traditional blinds. Plus, they easily install over your existing entry glass. Visit www.ODL.com to learn more.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show on air and online at MoneyPit.com. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: And you should pick up the phone right now and call us with your home improvement question. You know why? Because if you do, you might just be taking home the Dremel Saw-Max. It’s available in stores just this month and what we like about it is that it’s sturdy enough to cut through virtually any material but small enough to handle and store. It’s worth $130. Going to go out to one caller drawn at random of those who reach us this hour, so give us a call. The number is 888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Alright. Pick up the phone and give us a call. We’d love to give you a hand with what you are working on this weekend. But since it is the Halloween time of year, we decided to give you a Halloween survival tip from our friends over at QUIKRETE.

    Now, if you’re in a part of the country that participates in Mischief Night, you probably know a thing or two about getting your mailbox knocked over, maybe with a baseball bat, and having your windows egged or your trees toilet-papered. If you’re not familiar with it, Mischief Night or Devil’s Night, it’s the night before Halloween when neighborhood kids cause a little – and it’s mostly harmless – mayhem.

    So if you want to keep your mailbox secure and in the ground, here’s what you need to do: dig a hole that’s three times as wide and a third as long as your post and then go ahead and add 6 inches, because you need a gravel base at the bottom.

    TOM: That’s right. Now, you want to tamp the sides and the bottom of the hole until they’re firm and then pour in your gravel for drainage. Position the post so it’s level and then pour some QUIKRETE Fast-Setting Concrete Mix dry from the bag into the hole until it’s filled to within about 3 or 4 inches to the top.

    Now remember, you’re pouring it in dry; you’re not mixing it and then pouring it in. You’re pouring the QUIKRETE Fast-Setting Concrete Mix in dry and then you’re going to pour water onto the dry mix and allow it to soak in. It should all set in in about 20 to 40 minutes and that’s it; there’s no more mixing required and your mailbox won’t be going anywhere.

    You can go to QUIKRETE.com for some step-by-step on how to set mailbox posts and lots of other great project ideas and the products you’ll need to get them done. That’s online at QUIKRETE.com.

    LESLIE: Alright. Now we’ve got Sal calling in from Iowa who’s dealing with a water-pressure situation. Tell us about it. Is it only in one faucet, shower or sink? What’s going on?

    SAL: Actually, yeah, it’s only in one faucet. It’s in the bathtub; the bathtub doesn’t seem to get hardly any pressure coming out. When I put on the hot water, it barely dribbles and the cold water isn’t that much better.

    LESLIE: Is this a new problem or has this always been going on in the life of the fixture?

    SAL: Actually, I just moved in so I’m not real for-sure how long this has been going on, though.

    TOM: OK.

    LESLIE: And you didn’t turn on the faucet before you moved in? Didn’t your – my dad was always like, “Flush a toilet and turn on the shower.”

    SAL: Well, I’ll have to talk to my dad about that then.

    TOM: You know, if it’s only in one faucet like that, then you don’t have a water-pressure problem; you just have a problem with the faucet.

    Now, things that could cause that could be something as simple as a little bit of debris that got into the valve.

    SAL: Oh, OK.

    TOM: And you may be able to get – to take it apart and clean it out.

    SAL: OK.

    TOM: It’s amazing, especially with some of the more modern valves, what a tiny bit of crud that gets in the pipe – a little piece of mineral deposit …

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. Even a hard-water buildup or something.

    TOM: That’s right. Hard water or a piece of solder that broke off can totally ruin the flow.

    SAL: OK.

    TOM: Now is it just – is it the tub faucet or is it the shower?

    SAL: It’s actually the tub. It’s the tub.

    TOM: The tub faucet? Not the shower? So the shower faucet, the shower spout – sorry – the shower spigot has plenty of water coming out of it?

    SAL: I actually haven’t tried that yet.

    LESLIE: Why?

    TOM: Well, why don’t you try that?

    SAL: I have to get a couple shower curtains, so …

    TOM: Let’s start in there. Work with me here, Sal. Let’s narrow it down, OK?

    LESLIE: Sal’s like, “I haven’t even unpacked yet. I just turned on the tub.”

    TOM: But I do think that’s probably what’s causing it. I think there’s some debris in the line. You’ve got to isolate it, figure out what part of it is affected and then fix it.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm. And what you can do is you can disassemble the tip of your faucet, which is where the aerator is going to be, and really work on – as you take it apart, take pictures, write it down, keep it in order so you know how to exactly reassemble it.

    SAL: OK, yeah. I’ve got a video camera, so I’ll do that. True.

    LESLIE: And some white vinegar and water’ll do a great job of breaking down any sort of mineral buildup. It’s worth a shot.

    SAL: Oh, I really appreciate all the help.

    TOM: You’re welcome, Sal.

    SAL: Yep. You folks have a great show and have a good evening.

    LESLIE: Thanks, Sal.

    TOM: Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.

    LESLIE: Heather in South Carolina is calling in with a decking question. What happened? You did some finishing work to it and you don’t like it?

    HEATHER: Yes. We have a pressure-treated deck that we put on – had put on six years ago. And we let it weather for a year and then we put on a stain that was supposed to look like paint; it’s beige color.

    TOM: OK.

    HEATHER: And it – the instructions said not to put anything on over it or not to repeat it. And it’s now six years later. It looks terrible; it hasn’t held up. It’s a lot of weathering in the summer and we don’t know what to do.

    TOM: You’re going to have to strip it.

    LESLIE: Well and six years is a pretty good run for a horizontal surface, I have to say.

    TOM: Yeah, it is. It is.

    LESLIE: You know, most manufacturers say three to five years for a horizontal surface and if it gets a lot of sun, it’s probably going to lessen that greatly.

    HEATHER: What would we strip it with?

    LESLIE: There’s several products out there that make a paint stripper: Behr. Whatever product that you like to work with as far as paint or finishes, they’ll make a stain – I mean a stripper.

    And you want to put it on the surface according to the directions. And some of them will say work in small areas; some will say wet the entire deck and coat the entire deck with the stripper and then let it sit. But read the directions and work in a method that you feel comfortable with. If you only want to tackle sections at a time because of its size, do that.

    And because you’re going to have to wet it quite a bit to get the finish off in the stripping process, you really want to let it dry very, very, very well before you apply the new finish to it. And there are some products out there that have products built in that are almost UV protectants, that will help sort of make it stand up to the sun better.

    HEATHER: OK. Thank you.

    TOM: Good luck with that project.

    Up next, does grass seed age or spoil from year to year? We’re going to answer that question, after this.

    (theme song)

    ANNOUNCER: The Money Pit is brought to you by Bostitch. Professional-quality hand tools. Pneumatic and cordless nailers and staplers.

    TOM: Making good homes better, welcome back to The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show. I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Would you like to win a $10,000 dream-room makeover, done personally by my beautiful and talented co-host, Leslie Segrete?

    LESLIE: Whee! Thanks, Tom.

    TOM: If you would, you’ve got to go to DreamHomeMakeover.com. That is Arrow Fastener’s Facebook contest and you can enter right there. Tell us a little bit about the room that you’d like to makeover and we could be sending Leslie to your house with a $10,000 check to buy stuff to fix it up.

    LESLIE: Nice. I love shopping.

    TOM: Nice. You’d have fun shopping together.

    LESLIE: Oh, my gosh. It’s so fun spending other people’s money, especially $10,000 of it.

    But before we do that, let’s jump into the questions that people post on the Community section of TheMoneyPit.com, which you can do at any time; it’s always available for you. And we answer them at this part of the show.

    And I’ve got one here from C.M. in New Jersey who writes: “Can I use last year’s grass seed this year and get the same results as using new grass seed?”

    TOM: No. You will get some result but you won’t get the same result. Grass seed will “go bad” over a season or two but that’s not to say that it’s not going to work. I wouldn’t throw it out; I would use it. But you’re not going to get the germination level that you would get with fresh seed, so to speak.

    So, by all means, use it but you might want to supplement it with some new stuff.

    LESLIE: Alright. Next up, we’ve got one from Kate in Maryland who writes: “We live in a townhouse and the hurricane drainage results in groundwater seeping into our basement where our unit meets with the neighbor’s. We believe this is a foundation deterioration and our units are built on an underground stream that overflows during extreme conditions. Recommendations?”

    TOM: Well, if it’s overflowing based on heavy rain, then it’s really not an underground-stream situation; it’s really a drainage situation. Before we consider any kind of underground drain system, we want to look at gutters and downspouts and make sure water is being collected properly off the roof and moving away from the foundation and then look at the grading. If we take care of those areas – and there’s tips online on how to do this, at MoneyPit.com – you’re absolutely sure that the grading and the drainage is perfect, then we can talk about drains that could alleviate what’s left.

    LESLIE: Alright, Kate. Good luck securing that dry basement.

    TOM: Well, if you just say the word “bed bug,” people all over America will cringe.

    LESLIE: Ugh.

    TOM: See? You just cringed, didn’t you?

    LESLIE: I did. It’s gross.

    TOM: Leslie has got some tips on how to get rid of those buggers, on today’s edition of Leslie’s Last Word.

    LESLIE: That’s right. You guys, there is no denying it: bed bugs are gross. I mean super-gross. They live in your mattress or on any cloth and they come out to make a meal of – get this, their favorite food is you. Eww, eww. And you’re sleeping and they’re biting you and it’s gross.

    But did you know that the bugs themselves, they don’t actually make you sick. Well, they give you the heebie-jeebies but they don’t really make you sick. But the pesticides that some people are using to get rid of them, they can actually make you very sick.

    Now, the CDC says that dozens of Americans have become ill after misusing chemicals to kill those little bloodsuckers. And one woman’s death is even being linked to overusing pesticides.

    Now, the CDC suggests that before turning to the poisons, first try to get rid of the bed bugs conventionally. You want to vacuum thoroughly, you want to cover all carpets and furniture, then wash all of your linens.

    And if that doesn’t work, call an exterminator. You can Google “money pit bed bug exterminator” for information on how to choose an exterminator that’s got a good track record for getting rid of bed bugs specifically.

    Now, if you must do it yourself, carefully read and follow the instructions on the pesticides. And remember, more does not equal better, so follow those directions and get rid of those bed bugs for good.

    TOM: This is The Money Pit Home Improvement Radio Show, where we promise never to bug you.

    LESLIE: Ugh.

    TOM: Coming up next week on The Money Pit, we’re going to talk about making your home more energy-efficient by sealing leaks and insulating properly. Learn where to find the gaps that energy is leaking out of, in the next edition of The Money Pit.

    I’m Tom Kraeutler.

    LESLIE: And I’m Leslie Segrete.

    TOM: Remember, you can do it yourself …

    LESLIE: But you don’t have to do it alone.

    (theme song)


    (Copyright 2011 Squeaky Door Productions, Inc. No portion of this transcript or audio file may be reproduced in any format without the express written permission of Squeaky Door Productions, Inc.)

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